Insights 12 – what needs to be on your digital agenda in 2012? Four of 10 – Definition of Influence

2011 was the year that Influence, its definition methodology and benefit all came on to the radar. Pretenders like Klout, PeerIndex and Kred all entered on the to the scene with a bang and began to make life a whole lot easier for “people” to identify those movers and shakers who could, with the right approach, make a splash about your product or brand.

However, what many of these systems do is not make clear, nay avoid the main issue around influence – and that is context. Scores are great (Google’s Page Rank is a great generic indicator of a site’s relevance the search terms you are looking for) but on what basis is an individual in an area that I am trying to get my client to talk?

Klout most certainly is attempting to define this context (i.e. topics) based on the content we produce, making suggestions about the kinds of things we talk about – but this, as with all the other methodologies have to be based on a rational mix of frequency and time.

I actually think that this is one of the main reasons why Klout has suffered such criticism. Not because its methodology is flawed or any better than anyone else’s, but because it has barely had a full year to “get to know” someone’s content. Likewise, the challenge is to make sure that it can gather enough information abotu the changing topic tastes of an individual at the rate that they change them.

The year ahead

In 2012, both our understanding and experiences of these tools will mature as we make more sense of the definition of influence and pretty much spend more time WORKING with the tools and the influencers they highlight. Outreach mistakes will continue to happen as lazy PR’s think that the score is the key to the door and end up making an irrelevant approach to an unrelated influencers, so do NOT rely solely on score alone.

If Google’s most recent, fundamental changes to the way that they define search results has taught us anything, it is that influence is WAY more social and personal.

The score is a back-up – a tick-box and should be considered only in the context of a whole host of other content and channel-related metrics. So, understand influence before you write your next influencer email and your approach will change significantly – and I’d bet much for the better too.

Want more information? Contact us here

About the Author